by Irini Fambro
Sophia is the Greek word for Wisdom, and Propel Sophia seeks out the voices of truly wise women and asks them to share worked examples of how they express faith in daily life. Pull up a chair at Sophia’s table, won’t you? There’s plenty of space. Learn more here >
It wasn’t the first time my ideas were not heard, and it would definitely not be my last.
Strike one, my colleague whispered, noticing that my contribution was not welcomed at our staff meeting. I took a deep breath and tried again with a different topic. Again, my co-workers ignore me and moved on as if I hadn’t said anything at all. Strike two. I paused, trying to manage the tornado of emotions inside of me, and taking time to reframe the idea, only to hear it accepted when someone else spoke up. Strike three…you’re outta’ here.
These types of encounters have followed me like my unwanted chin hairs. Was it my age, my experience, my ethnicity, or my gender? Yes and no; all of those variables came into play when I was invited to meetings. I had came to the conclusion that something must be wrong with me, or at least wrong with my thinking.
As God worked on the tapestry of my brain (Psalm 139), I wondered if He used the wrong color or ran out of the normal brain color for people. The way I operated compared to others always left me questioning if I belonged at the discussion table - was I enough?
In the professional world, intelligence is a highly sought commodity; but as I turned to Scripture, I found it detailing something much more expansive than book-smart intelligence: it spoke of wisdom. Solomon’s wisdom was described like the “sand that is on the seashore” - that’s pretty expansive (I Kings 4:29). Do you know what else is described like sand? The people Solomon was leading (I Kings 4:20). God matched the overwhelming amount of people under Solomon with the provision of an overflowing amount of intelligence resources. God has created us with a variety of smarts to meet a variety of needs.
Since God gave Solomon such a vast array of wisdom, why do I continue to limit how I see my intelligence? There are so many different ways to think; so many colors He used to knit us.
… Maybe you see things through the lens of words and how they affect people and circumstances – that would be a linguistic intelligence.
… What if you are drawn to numbers and patterns? Logic/mathematical intelligence is your piece of sand.
… Are you the person that remembers all the details and facts of a situation? Knowledge intelligence is your craft.
… Do you pick up on your emotions and that of others when interacting with people? Emotional intelligence is your asset.
… Ever notice how the present is linked to the past and dictating the future? Your temporal intelligence awaits your use.
… Are you aware of the effects of decisions on the organization as a whole? Cultural intelligence is the way your brain is woven.
Do you find yourself drawn to point out the unseen variables in circumstances? Spiritual intelligence is a part of how you think.
So many colors of thread, so many ways to think…
As I discovered how many intelligences there were, I could hear God say, “you are smarter than you think.” I had barely scraped the surface of the capacities God wove into my DNA. Operating in those intelligences wasn’t going to start with the people around the staff table recognizing it, it had to start with me. Until I believed in the intelligence God had placed inside of me, the people around me would be just as limited in their perspective. The question wasn’t, “What is wrong with me?” or “What is wrong with them?” but “What is right with me?” and I guess if I’m being nice, “What is right with them?”
So how did I tap into the specific ways God has made me smart? I needed to believe God had made me smart in particular ways and look for ways to uncover what God wove into my DNA. Here are some questions I had to ask myself…
1. Have I believed a lie that I am not intelligent?
a. Can I put words to that belief? It could be saying things like: “I’m not smart enough,” “I haven’t been educated enough,” or “I wish I was as smart as them.”
b. Am I willing to part ways with those lies? God’s Word says if I will confess, admit I have been aligned myself with a lie, God is faithful to forgive me and exchange that lie for His truth over me (I John 1:9; John 8:32; John 17:17).
c. Can I put words to that truth? Declarations like…
• “I am enough.”
• “I am intelligent.”
• “I am a contributor.”
• “I do have value.”
2. Where am I limited in defining my intelligence? Am I only using the intelligence of others around me to define my own intelligence?
a. Which of the different intelligences described above do you see in yourself?
b. Is it a blend of one or more? Is there one not even listed?
3. Is there someone that operates in this intelligence that I can learn from?
a. It could be someone around you.
b. It could be in a book, a magazine, a podcast.
God longs for you to discover the intricate design He wove into you while you were yet to be born. This world needs divine tapestries and you are just the thread that is missing.
This is the first of a 5 week series on different ways God has created YOU with multiple gifts and intelligences. Look out for the Propel Sophia articles in the weekly newsletter.
Irini Fambro is a wife and mother, teacher and student, speaker and listener. She and her high school love, Kenneth, have two children: Kalila and Kenneth. She is an ordained minister that has her Masters of Divinity from Beeson Divinity School and just recently finished her PhD in Organizational Leadership from Regent University.